Sean O’Donnell | Staff Writer
Duquesne relied on the hot hand of Jimmy Clark III on Wednesday night, defeating Marshall 85-72 at the Cam Henderson Center. The win marks Keith Dambrot’s first in a non-conference road game as Duquesne’s head coach.
Clark scored 24 points, 19 of which came in the first half. Clark’s ability to score at will in the first half prevented Marshall from going on any sort of run. With Duquesne down 12-7 early, Clark knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers during a 14-0 Duquesne run; making it 21-12 Dukes.
Clark’s 24 points tied his season-high and made it his seventh game scoring in double figures this season.
Clark caught Marshall defenders biting on his pump fake numerous times throughout the night which set his teammates up for easy buckets. Early in the second half Clark pump faked, the defender bit and Clark dished it out to Dae Dae Grant who swung it to Kareem Rozier who nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key to go up 46-37.
A couple minutes after the Rozier 3-pointer, Clark’s pump fake was successful yet again. He pump faked and kicked it out to Fousseyni Drame in the corner for a 3-pointer putting the Dukes up 49-39.
Good ball movement for Duquesne wouldn’t stop there. Just a few possessions later, Dave Dixon would kick the ball out to Fousseyni Drame on the permitter, who quickly found Rozier who would drive to the hole knocking down a running floater. Rozier’s basket made it 54-43 Duquesne.
“As a staff we really stress moving the ball,” said Graduate Assistant Will Swartz. “Passing up good shots to get great shots.”
“There are five guys on the court,” Swartz said. “We really stress making that one more pass.”
Duquesne’s bigs exposed mismatches in the paint, primarily led by Andrei Savrasov, who has found his stride after a slow start to the campaign. Savrasov crashed the glass early for Duquesne, securing a pair of offensive rebounds in the game’s opening minutes. Savrasov was able to score a second-chance bucket off one of his early rebounds.
Savrasov finished the game with a team-high nine rebounds.
“Staying consistent with me going to the glass,” Savrasov said was the key to his rebounding success.
To go along with his rebounding, Savrasov was also attacking the basket aggressively; converting a tough and-one basket in the first half.
“You just have to be strong about it,” he said. “Just stay the course.”
Savrasov was taking advantage of his matchups in the paint, drawing fouls and shooting nine free throws. Savrasov went six-of-nine from the free-throw line and finished the game with 14 points. This is the third time he has scored in double figures this season, following a season high 15 points vs UC Irvine last time out.
Joining Savrasov in exploiting mismatches in the paint was Dixon. Coming off the bench, Dixon was a force in the paint. Although he struggled to finish, he shot a team-high 14 free throws, making nine. Dixon had seven total rebounds including being tied with Savrasov for a team-high three offensive rebounds. Dixon topped his performance off with 11 points, making it back-to-back games scoring in double figures.
“We played hard,” Dambrot said. “Jimmy was really the key for us in the first half. He put us on his back during that run, and it’s good to see our inside guys helping out with production.”
Dae Dae Grant struggled from the field in the first half but was able to help seal the victory for Duquesne. With three minutes remaining in the game, Grant nailed a deep 3-pointer to put Duquesne up 73-63. The following possession, Grant stopped on a dime and drained a jumper to increase the lead to 75-73. Grant went nine-of-10 from the free-throw line and made history breaking the school record with 43 consecutive made free-throws.
After the game, Dambrot entered a jubilant visiting locker room and screamed, “It must be the haircut!” as players rubbed his freshly cut head.
The win improved Duquesne’s record to 6-2. They return home to face Saint Peters on Friday night.